Using a wax warmer can be very enjoyable and make your home smell wonderful. If you’ve run out of regular wax melts or are just looking to experiment, you may be wondering, “can I use soap as a wax melt?”
Generally, using soap as a wax melt is a bad idea. Depending on the type of soap, heating it can cause the soap to turn black, smell awful, or create harmful chemical reactions. Homemade lye soaps can usually be safely heated and used as wax melts, but you should avoid store-bought commercial soaps.
Most people will have some sort of soap in their homes, whether it’s a liquid soap, bar soap, homemade soap, or some other type of soap. Many people think that soap and wax are very similar, and while they do share certain qualities, they behave quite differently when heated.
If you have a wax warmer, it can be very tempting to use soap in place of regular wax melts, so in this article, I’ll go over whether you can use soap as a wax melt, what might happen if you do, and whether it is dangerous or not.
Can You Put Soap In a Wax Warmer?
Before jumping right in and examining what might happen if you use soap as a wax melt, it’s essential to understand precisely how wax warmer regularly works with normal wax melts.
Put simply, wax warmers are devices that warm wax or other liquids in order to release their scent into the air. They are often simple contraptions with an electric heating pad or candle holder beneath a shallow container for holding wax or other liquids. The heat from the heating pad or candle moves upward and melts the wax above, releasing its scent into the air.
Now that you know a little more about how wax warmers work, let’s explore whether or not you should use soap as a wax melt and put it in the container above the heat source in a wax warmer.
Store-Bought Bar Soaps
In general, it is best to avoid heating bar soaps in a wax melter. There are many reasons for this precaution, so let’s break it down.
When bar soap gets hot, it goes into what soap makers call “gel phase.” Basically, it gets all mushy and takes on a gel-like consistency.
Soap going into gel phase isn’t on its own a bad thing, but with store-bought bar soaps, you can never be quite sure what ingredients the manufacturer used to make the soap. When heated up, unexpected chemical reactions can take place between ingredients and cause all sorts of undesirable outcomes.
Depending on the type of soap, the reaction can be entirely unnoticeable or extremely hazardous. Your bar soap could simply smell nice, it could turn black and smell bad, it could put off dangerous gases, and anything in between.
The unpredictability of store-bought bar soaps makes them not ideal for use as wax melts. You could carefully experiment with different soaps to find safe ones, but I wouldn’t advise this because things could go wrong (there are better and safer options, so just keep reading!).
Store-Bought Liquid Soaps
Much like store-bought bar soaps, liquid bar soaps suffer from some of the same uncertainties and problems. Without careful testing, it is difficult to know how the soap’s ingredients will interact when heated up.
Depending on the liquid soap you have, it could be highly toxic when heated or entirely neutral. Most dish soaps contain ingredients that are not too harsh because they come into contact with dishes and other cookware. On the other hand, some liquid soaps can contain more harsh materials if they are intended for purely cleaning purposes.
Harmful chemical reactions often occur when liquid soap becomes too concentrated. To help combat this problem, if you decide to use all-natural liquid soap in a wax warmer, make sure to add water whenever too much moisture from the soap evaporates.
It’s difficult to know how the different ingredients in liquid soap will react when heated, so it’s best just to avoid the potentially dangerous situation altogether.
Lye-Based Homemade Soaps
The third and final type of soap that we’re going to discuss using in a wax warmer is homemade soap. The category of homemade soaps can be vague and broad, but I’m generally considering any lye-based soap that you make yourself or source locally to fall into this category.
As long as the soap is lye-based and doesn’t have any weird additives, it should be pretty safe to use as a wax melt.
Homemade lye soaps are generally made of three essential ingredients: lye, fat, and liquid. In the soap-making process (whether you’re using a hot or cold process), the ingredients all get heated together, so you can be sure no strange and potentially harmful reactions may occur if you use the soap in a wax warmer.
Just make sure there are no other strange additives in the soap other than the primary ingredients mentioned above. Natural additives for scent or looks, like coffee grounds, essential oils, dyes, and herbs, usually won’t cause any additional problems.
As long as you only use authentic lye-based soap without any weird additives, homemade soap should be excellent to use as a wax melt in a wax warmer.
What Will Happen If You Use Soap as a Wax Melt?
There are three possible outcomes when you use soap as a wax melt:
- Negative outcome
- Neutral outcome
- Positive outcome
If you use store-bought bar or liquid soaps, the chemical reactions from the ingredients heating up usually cause a negative or neutral outcome. Depending on the ingredients in the soap, it may turn black, smell bad, give off harmful gases, or do absolutely nothing.
The unpredictability of commercially made soaps is one of the primary reasons it’s best not to use them as wax melts.
Most positive outcomes come when you use homemade lye-based soap that doesn’t have any strange additives that cause harmful chemical reactions. The ingredients used to make most homemade lye soaps (lye, fat, and liquid) don’t do anything weird when heated, so using them as wax melts is usually fine.
If your homemade soap doesn’t have any natural additives for scent, the result in a wax warmer will often be relatively neutral because it won’t put off any smell. However, there are many great natural ingredients that you can add to homemade soap to make it smell wonderful in your home, whether you’re using it as a soap or a wax melt.
Is Using Soap as a Wax Melt Dangerous?
Using store-bought soaps with synthetic materials or chemicals can result in dangerous gases, stinky smells, or burning if used as a wax melt. However, there are ways to make using soap in your wax warmer safe.
Below are a few tips for safely using soap as a wax melt:
- Only use lye-based homemade soaps
- Make sure all ingredients in the soap are natural
- Use your wax warmer in a well-ventilated area with no major drafts
- Never leave your wax warmer unattended
- Keep flammable materials away from your wax warmer
- Don’t let children or pets near your wax warmer while in use
As long as you follow some simple safety rules, only use homemade soaps that you know the ingredients of, and use common sense, you should be pretty safe when using soap as a wax melt.
Wax warmers are a great way to create an inviting environment that you love spending time in and make your home smell nice. Soap can be a great alternative to regular wax melts, but you must do your due diligence and ensure the soap you’re using will not put off toxic gases or turn black and smell bad.
If you use homemade lye soaps and make sure all the ingredients are natural and safe, using soap as a wax melt is a great alternative and can make for a pleasant atmosphere in your home.